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189980Re: A new direction in loglangs?

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  • Logan Kearsley
    Aug 1, 2012
      On 1 August 2012 06:33, Alex Fink <000024@...> wrote:
      > On Thu, 26 Jul 2012 15:58:56 -0600, Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...> wrote:
      >
      >>One of the things that has always bugged me about Palno being based on
      >>predicate calculus is the awkwardity of adverb constructions. But just
      >>today I was reading an old article on classifying adverbs for
      >>machine-readable dictionaries, and they had predicate-calculus forms
      >>for describing the semantics of subject-focused, verb-modifying, and
      >>clause-modifying adverbs, and the listings for verb-modifying senses
      >>was extremely weird:
      >>
      >>[ VERB / ADVERB ](arg1,arg2,...)
      >>
      >>That does not look like proper predicate calculus to me, and then it
      >>suddenly dawned on me: the correct way to write it is
      >>
      >>ADVERB(VERB)(arg1,arg2,...)
      >>
      >>I.e., verb- (and some clause-) modifying adverbs are actually
      >>semantically equivalent to higher-order functions!
      >
      > The first way I would think to handle these classes (in fact, what we do in UNLWS) is as predicates whose argument is the Davidsonian event argument for the verb (there's a word I've learned from And).

      That's effectively what Palno so far has always done. Rather than
      explicitly stating a Davidsonian event argument, though (which would
      seem to me rather Lojbanish), the event argument is equivalent to the
      implicit return value of a non-top-level predicate. That's what allows
      nesting such that the result of one predicate can be the argument of
      another.

      Many of the existing problems with Palno (like correctly handling
      relative clauses) stem from manipulating that return value so that
      it's something *other* than the Davidsonian. E.g., top-level
      predicates have to actually be logical predicates that assert a truth
      value, like "there exists e such that e satisfies this predicate",
      rather than the bare argument value itself, "some e such that e
      satisfies this predicate".

      > Perhaps I am ignorant of some important distinction between verb- and clause-modifying adverbs. For instance, in your leading example
      >
      >>E.g., given the sequence
      >>
      >>"Bob ball kick hard"
      >>
      >>How do you know if "hard" is a higher order function operating on
      >>"kick" before binding the arguments "Bob" and "ball", or if it's a
      >>first-order function operating on the result of "Bob ball kick"?
      >
      > the binding of "Bob" and "kick" seems to me to commute semantically with the whatevering of "hard". What semantic difference do you take to be present between the two?

      That's not a very good example for demonstrating the difference,
      'cause that probably is semantically commutative. A better simple
      example might be a truth-intensifier, like "really". "Bob really
      kicked the ball", e.g., we assume that some event happened without
      question, but the event was *definitely* a kick, not something else;
      as opposed to "Really, Bob kicked the ball", e.g. there is no question
      over the type of event under discussion, but it definitely happened,
      as opposed to not.

      Incidentally, I found one paper on verbal semantics that represents
      predicates in fully curried form. Of course, when writing out
      semantics in predicate calculus, they're allowed to use parentheses,
      so it didn't really help my cogitation here.

      -l.
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